In fine form

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 December, 2010, 12:00am

Although I like tete de moine, I bypass it whenever I see it in supermarkets because it requires a special cutter to scrape it into the fine, ruffled shavings that melt delicately on the tongue. Yes, you can attempt to scrape shavings off the cheese with a knife but that doesn't work as well, because the shavings are not nearly as fine, or as attractive, as when the cutter - which is called a girolle (above) - is used.

Tete de moine is an Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) cheese produced in Switzerland. It's made from pasteurised cow's milk and aged for several months to produce a semi-hard texture. The cheese 'scrapes' best when it has come straight from the fridge, because at room temperature its texture is too soft for the cutter to work effectively. The whole cheese - including the soft rind - is eaten.

Rosettes of tete de moine look attractive on a charcuterie and cheese platter. The cheese is delicious on its own but is also wonderful in an open-faced sandwich with thin slices of bread and ham and a dab of sweet-tart preserve such as raspberry, cranberry or lingonberry.